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UPDATE 1-Finnish prosecutor to press charges against Nokian Tyres

(Adds background, details)

HELSINKI, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Finnish prosecutors have decided to press charges against Finnish tyre maker Nokian’s 2015-2016 board members, former chief executive and certain employees for suspected securities markets offences, the company said on Thursday.

“The prosecutor also requests a corporate fine of a maximum of EUR 850,000 to be imposed on the company,” Nokian said in a statement.

The case dates back to 2016, when local media reported that Nokian Tyres had for years manipulated car magazines’ test results by sending them modified tyres for testing.

Some board members sold their incentive share options before the company admitted to the cheating in a stock exchange release that sent its shares down more than 7% and the value of the management’s options down 44% in February 2016.

In May 2017, the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority filed a request for investigation into whether the company had neglected its disclosure obligations to the security markets, and whether certain employees had abused insider information when dealing in the company’s securities.

“In the matter concerning the suspected disclosure offence, the prosecutor has decided to press charges against a total of six persons who acted as board members and the President & CEO in 2015-2016,” Nokian said in a statement on Thursday.

Nokian Tyres’ Chief Executive at the time was Ari Lehtoranta, who now heads Finnish construction company Caverion .

The prosecutor is also pressing charges for suspected abuse of insider information against four persons who were employees of Nokian Tyres in 2015, the company added.

Nokian said all persons charged deny their involvement in any criminal activity.

$1 = 0.8498 euros Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Jon Boyle, Kirsten Donovan

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